Saturday, December 10, 2005

Snow before Christmas

Providence 006
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

Little Rhody got blasted by a snowstorm yesterday, apparently getting "blasted by bombogenesis". I snapped a few photos of Federal Hill covered in snow so that I'll have something to remember it by in July when I'm sweaty and miserable.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Live, from Little Guatemala!

I have been seriously remiss in updating this blog, but what can I say? I have nothing new to photoblog, and Rhode Island has been a very quiet place since Thanksgiving, although two bits of news from today's Providence Journal stand out (registration required):

The first bit of news is a bit strange, since I'm sure even Guatemala has the means to build a consulate outside of one of the city's meanest neighborhoods. It's also strange because if someone didn't actually know better, they'd swear that Rhode Island is an offshore colony of Guatemala. All of which reminds me, I've been meaning to take a walk over to El Chapincito since I moved here. Nora should come with me, but I think she's afraid they serve guinea pigs.

The news about the crack bust is simultaneously welcome and disappointing. It's welcome because the city is awash in baseheads and crack dealers, and any reduction in drugs and guns makes the city just that much more liveable. However, it's disappointing that such large volume dealers could be so brazen and deal in plain sight for so long without anyone giving a damn about it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hi, neighbor! Have a 'gansett!

Howdy, neighbor! Have a 'gansett!
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

The legend is back. Narragansett Beer is once again available in finer Ocean State bars and packies. It's no longer brewed in Rhode Island, but hey, that's alright. Please note that I do not condone getting parrots drunk.

So how is it? Not bad at all.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Good lord!

I had never intended for this site to become the "Rhode Island sports blog", but the hits just keep coming. Today's Boston Herald is reporting that Marvin "Bad News" Barnes, former American Basketball Association great, former Boston Celtic, former Providence College All-American and native (and still current) resident of Providence, actually snorted cocaine during games while sitting on the bench for the Celtics during the 1978-1979 season.

Former Providence College teammate and former NBA rookie of the year, North Providence native Ernie DiGrigorio expressed his skepticism, saying: "I don't believe he did cocaine on the bench. I love Marvin, but I think he's just saying that. I believe a lot of the things that have happened to him that are documented - the time in prison, living on the street, all the drug rehabs. But I find that one hard to believe."

Marvin begs to differ, "Yeah, I was doing it on the bench. I was playing for the Celtics, and I was sitting next to Nate Archibald and somebody else, and I was snorting cocaine right there on the bench while the game was going on. They all moved away from me. I had it under a towel. I guess I don't need to say that my career didn't last much longer after that."

The Herald talked to the always quotable Celtics legend (and current Celtics radio man) Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell, then a teammate of Marvin Barnes. Cedric did not hesitate to talk about Marvin's gifts, his demons, and his (Maxwell's) own stunning naivete. In his own words:

“Marvin was a good guy, and he played well the first 15 or 20 games of the season. He was on time for everything and he was great. Then the worst thing in the world happened. We had a game in St. Louis, his old stomping grounds. I had the room right beside Marvin, and when I came back from the game the music was blaring and it stayed that way until the wake-up call the next morning. That was it. Marvin was never the same.
But he definitely wasn’t alone in doing drugs. There were guys on our team and on different teams that did coke. I had a player from another team come to my house one night, and this is how naive I was. I was living out in Framingham and he comes to my door with some guy from the building. He asks me if I have any baking powder, and I’m thinking, they’re cooking cakes at this hour? Then he asked for some ammonia. I’m like, damn, they’re cleaning, too?”

Bad News Barnes is clean today, which is wonderful. Celtics fans wistfully recall the reminiscences of Celtic legend Tommy Heinsohn saying that Marvin Barnes could have been one of the greatest of all time, and saying that he had never seen anyone squander such amazing abilities (at least, that is, until Roy Tarpley and Derrick Coleman came onto the scene).

Here at the Rhode Islander, we've got nothing but love for Marvin. Tell it like it was, big man.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"Pazmanian Devil" goes broke

Vinnie "The Pazmanian Devil" Paz (formerly Pazienza) has gone broke. The Providence Journal (registration required) is reporting that Rhode Island's most famous living athlete has filed for bankruptcy, owing over $2,000,000. The ProJo lists where some of the money is owed:

The Pazmanian Devil has a little income coming in after his retirement, but not much. He can currently be seen on Cox cable local ads for a mortgage company, which will not be giving him anywhere near the bread required to pay this off. Paz blames his gambling habit and his lavish extravagant gift giving as having put him in the hole. A sad state of affairs from a once formidable boxer, who might easily be the only sports celebrity who is actually proud of being from Rhode Island! I certainly hope the five (five!) time former world champion finds a way to get out of the hole and back on his feet.

Note: the one and only Rhode Island bred and born Vinnie Paz should not be confused with the repulsive, doughy white rapper "Vinnie Paz" from the group Jedi Mind Tricks.


This picture of Al Jefferson (left) and Paul Pierce (right) says it all as the Boston Celtics were whooped on by the Seattle Supersonics last night. Al Jefferson's face is a mask of despair, while Paul Pierce seeks solace in towels.

On a different note, with proper maginification and scrutiny, one can discern the words "BIG AL" on the green band around his left wrist, and that's just great.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Leave the hand UP, Ricky!

The Boston Celtics have played four games, and each one of them has been an edge-of-your-seat affair. After a heartbreaking last second (.8 of a second!) loss to the Detroit Pistons and a hideous overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, the Celtics fought their way back from an 18 point defecit against the Memphis Grizzlies and found themselves in another tightly matched fourth quarter.

On the last possession of the game, with Boston down by one, Paul Pierce took the ball down at the baseline, where he was immediately double teamed by the Grizzlies defense. He made a buttery smooth pass to teammate Ricky Davis who, thanks to the double team on Paul Pierce, was standing all alone at the free throw line. With less than a second remaining, Ricky drained the shot (time expired while the ball was in midair), and the Celtics won by a single point.

In the picture at left, point guard Delonte West hoists Ricky Davis into the air following the game winning shot, causing Nora to excitedly squeal, "it all about LOVE!"

Oh yeah, she's not kidding. I've got nothing but love for the Celtics. Celtics fans get an entire seat with their ticket, but they'll only need the edge.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Don't mess with The Don

Providence used to be the notorious home of the New England branch of La Cosa Nostra, and rule #1 is, don't fuck with The Don. This week, small time state lobbyist Guy Dufault used two "unscheduled" minutes of airtime on his television show (which is essentially a paid infomercial sponsored by his lobbying clients) to imply that he could blackmail Rhode Island governor Donald Carcieri (pictured above) by blurting out that he could bury him by talking about Carcieri's former "comattas" (Italian slang for "girlfriends"). The Providence Journal (registration required) has the ugly tale.

Carcieri, as is to be expected, is furious, and Dufault's clients are running away from him as if he had herpes sores all over his face. As to be expected in Rhode Island, his clients run the gamut from gambling, labor unions (naturally), the health care industry, and, um, gambling. For a state with no casino, Rhode Island certainly does have more than its fair share of gambling industry lobbyists. Cripes, even the state's Democratic party machinery disowned him, and you have no idea how badly you have to screw up to be disowned by the most crooked party machine in America. I wouldn't be surprised if Dufault's next move is a triple gainer off the Pell Bridge. Maybe he'll find his career at the bottom of Narragansett Bay.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Celtics win!

The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 114-100 on Wednesday to begin their season 1-0, which left Nora and I giddy as schoolgirls on illegal drugs. The media hype was all on the Knicks and their new hall of fame coach Larry Brown, but when the dust settled, it was the Celtics out on top. So imagine my surprise when I watched "SportsCenter" on ESPN this morning, and saw that ESPN didn't even interview any of the Celtics, and treated the result of the game as an afterthought to the Larry Brown angle. Some teams get no respect, I tell you what. Doc Rivers must be furious.

The photo above is for Nora, who loves seeing the Celtics bond emotionally around sick children. Appearing with a desperately ill looking child (from left to right) are Marcus Banks (foreground), Ricky Davis (background), Kendrick Perkins and Justin Reed.

Next up for the Celtics? The Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons. It promises to be a classic ...


The Providence Journal (registration required) reports that Providence police detectives arrested two women at two separate massage parlors in the city, charging them with "permitting massages to be given without a license" - a misdemeanor. One of the ladies was also charged with "maintaining a common nuisance".

The detectives paid for massages, and made the busts when solicited for sexual favors above and beyond a therapeutic massage.

So, I hear you ask, why wasn't anyone arrested for solicitation of prostitution? The answer will surprise you: prostitution is not illegal in Rhode Island as long as it is conducted indoors. You would think this fact would create fabulous Nevada style resorts, but no, instead, it simply creates dingy downtown massage parlors staffed by illegal immigrants.

Clearly, an enterprising entrepreneur could exploit this legal loophole and create something along the lines of those working girl ranches in Nevada in Providence. Who will put up the million dollars required for "the Quahog ranch"? Rhode Island is already an "adult entertainment" destination, with several famous strip clubs so large, they service entire tour buses of customers before nine in the morning (the Foxy Lady and their "legs and eggs" breakfast), so why not go the extra mile and deliver what people are really looking for? Get all the proper licenses, hire elligible workers, and recoup that million dollars in no time flat. Men from Massachusetts will be spending all their free time and money at a place like this, so the first one to do it right can clean the hell up.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

At last - it begins

The 2005-2006 National Basketball Association season has begun, but tonight, the Boston Celtics play their first game of the season at the newly renamed TD Banknorth Garden against the New York Knicks. Anyone who knows me knows that I wouldn't care if the Red Sox and Patriots folded or moved to Mississippi tomorrow as long as the Celtics stayed in New England forever.

The picture above is of Celtics power forward Al Jefferson putting Charlotte Bobcats forward Primo Brezec on the proverbial poster with an earth shattering reverse smash. Primo's "my God, why have you forsaken me?" expression combined with his shrugged shoulders and upturned palms speaks volumes.

Speaking of posterizing, let us not forget Ricky Davis. Sure, he was with Cleveland then, but this is one of the sickest dunks of our age.

And on a personal note ...

Last week, on a whim, I chanced upon the webpage of a local dairy in East Providence, and left a message online asserting my sincere, lifelong desire to be a milkman (my desire is actually more along the lines of being a milkman like Reid Fleming, but that's besides the point), and leaving my email address and phone number.

When I awoke this afternoon (I work nights), lo and behold, there was a message on my machine from this dairy asking to talk with me. My goodness, could I be headed for work I would actually enjoy? The thought of cruising around Rhode Island delivering milk probably sounds fairly dull to most folks, but compared to what I do now, it would be a dream come true. We shall see.

Remembering Roger Williams

Reason magazine's November issue contains a fine article entitled "Remembering Roger Williams: What the father of Rhode Island can still teach us".

While I cannot argue with the substance of their assessment of Roger Williams, I vehemently disagree with their characterization of Providence as a "grim port town whose main growth industry is serving as the backdrop for gross-out comedies by the Farrelly brothers". I would also highly dispute that the religious climate in this country resembles that which Roger Williams dealt with in Massachusetts, where Puritan mores literally were the law, and dissent was punishable by extraordinary corporal measures. It goes without saying that the most religious state in America, Utah, is far more secular today than Roger Williams' Rhode Island was in the 17th century.

The point, however, was clear: Rhode Island was the first colony on earth founded on the principle that religion and politics need to be separated for the protection of both institutions, and Roger Williams further proved the point that such a separation was not only possible, but desireable. Without Roger Williams, the establishment cause of the US constitution would probably not exist, and the United States, like nearly every European nation to this day, would probably have a state church.

Roger Williams' bold plan also provided the framework for religious pluralism in America, providing a foothold for Jews, Quakers, Catholics and others at a time when Puritan exclusivity was the rule, and when the sovereign of the American colonies pulled double duty as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. America's first Baptist church and first synagogue could not have existed anywhere else but Rhode Island at the time.

Reason correctly identifies his legacy as an underappreciated one, so let's give the man some of his overdue props, shall we?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Narragansett High School raided

Originally uploaded by jaki good.

The Providence Journal (registration required) is reporting that local police, aided by drug sniffing dogs, shut down Narragansett high school to search for drugs on the premises. Their haul consisted of a small bag of marijuana and a pipe taken from a student's car.

I'm all for scaring the hell out of teenagers by searching for drugs, and I don't think rich towns like Narragansett should get a pass, but good lord, why not try this in Providence or Central Falls? I guarantee they'll come up with more than a dime bag of grass.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Snow before Halloween

Quincy 005
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

I love New England so very, very much.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Federal Hill is soaked (Providence, RI)

Federal Hill is soaked (Providence, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

Congratulations to Rhode Island for the wettest October in recorded history. Last night, our rivers swelled and dams flexed to bursting as another inch and a half of rain fell in one night. The entire state is dark, damp and cold.

I've got nothing but love for it, since we're all about the trees, grass, ponds, rivers and lakes. On the downside, there are 30,000 people in Rhode Island without power, and there's been yet more flooded streets and basements. Even better, or worse, there's more to come as the remnants of hurricane Wilma make their way to the north.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Katana wielding man arrested in Johnston

Japanese Officer's Shin-Gunto
Originally uploaded by dirt dog.

The Providence Journal (login required) reports that Johnston police responded to a 911 call and found 40 year old Michael C. Welch confronting them with a drawn katana, reportedly screaming "just kill me!" at the befuddled cops.

Miraculously, Welch got a grip on his surroundings and dropped his weapon before the police ventilated him, and all ended relatively peacefully. Where the hell are the people from the Institute For The Study And Practice of Nonviolence when someone needs them, anyway?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cliff Walk photos

Country "cottage" (Newport, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

They're three weeks old now, but what the heck, I took pictures of the Cliff Walk in Newport. This was the last weekend of dry weather we've had in the past three weeks, with more rain scheduled for this weekend.

I can't complain about getting too much of the wet stuff, though. I would hate it if Rhode Island looked like Arizona.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

When Republicans attack ... Republicans.

Why is the GOP fighting this man? Meet Steve Laffey, the mayor of Cranston, and ostensible contestant for the US Senate seat held by resident Republican In Name Only Lincoln Chaffee. Despite rock solid Republican credentials, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is afraid that Laffey's primary challenge to Chaffee will result in a Democrat winning the seat in 2006. Of course, for those of us who know Lincoln Chaffee, there's very little discernable difference between him and any other New England Democratic senator, so Rhode Island's Republican voters are eager to see Laffey, a bonafide Republican, wind up on the ballot.

Chaffee, however, is getting big bucks and big help from the NRSC, who in turn have spent their money on attack ads portraying Laffey as some sort of lunatic, or worse, as a tax and spend Democrat. The National Review sorts it out online. The NSRC also forgets that Chaffee was nominated for his seat by then Governor Lincoln Almond after the death of Senator John Chaffee, Lincoln's father, and was not re-elected a year later as the result of some upsurge of Republican voters in Rhode Island. People in Rhode Island know what they're getting in Lincoln Chaffee - a Democrat. Republicans know what they see in Steve Laffey - a Republican.

Within Rhode Island, Laffey is lauded as the man who took on the public employees unions and won, and the man who brought Cranston back from the brink of financial ruin. While tax hikes were definitely involved in balancing the city's budget, Laffey's primary, and most politically dangerous focus, was tackling the public service unions that provided Yugo services at Lexus prices. Everyone in Rhode Island certainly remembers the Cranston crossing guard fiasco, after all, and we also remember his unlikely victory over foes with enormous political clout in Rhode Island.

As a registered Republican in Rhode Island (a breed rarer than the Block Island meadow vole), I intend to vote for Laffey in the primaries. There's no guarantee Chaffee will win re-election against any halfway credible Democratic challenger, and just as importantly, there's no way in hell that Lincoln Chaffee will actually behave like a Republican if re-elected. Bring it on, Mayor Laffey, and don't let the bastards get you down.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Yeah, this is an update.

So I've been quiet for the past week and a half, and I've neglected to put up pictures I had taken on the Cliff Walk in Newport from last week.

However, I do have something more exciting to report, namely, the beginning of the Boston Celtics' 2005-2006 season tonight in Pittsburgh, where they will be facing LeBron "King" James and the Cleveland Cavaliers! Sadly for Nora, her "soul mate", Al Jefferson, will be sidelined with a sprained ankle, but she's always got Ricky Davis (pictured above) to fall back on.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Crime again? Yeah, once again.

Fenced in (Federal Hill - Providence, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

Two people were shot during a craps game at Lockwood Plaza on Prairie Avenue, the heart of Providence's ghetto. For one of the victims, 32 year old Noel Osborne, this latest bullet marked the 11th time he's been shot.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Apple season!

Sunset Orchards (Scituate, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

Nothing says fall like picking apples, and I've put a set of photos from Sunset Orchards in Scituate up on Flickr. Now, to find a way to get all of these apples into pie ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

There's no need to fear!

Exit 1 (Route 195 East: Providence, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

Underdog is here! Or almost here, at least. The Providence Journal (registration required) reports that Rhode Island is the "overwhelming favorite" for Disney to film their new live action Underdog movie, a "megabudget" film set to release in 2007, in Rhode Island.

Hollywood on the Woonasquatucket, eh?

Photo of The Man

Providence Police (Almy St. - Providence, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

This is a quintessentially Providence scene: notice the police officer listening to someone talking to him, all the while with a poker face and a Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee (click on "original size" to really make out the coffee - but be warned, the file is rather big).

When I walked by and snapped the photo, he turned abruptly and hollered, "is everything alright there, buddy?" to which I replied, "I'm fine, sir!". I guess saying, "I'm just photoblogging Rhode Island" wouldn't make any sense to The Man, now would it? Hell naw!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Canadian Embassy (Warwick, RI)

The Canadian Embassy (Warwick, RI)
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

Ever since Bess Eaton went away, little slices of Canada have replaced them all over Rhode Island. I dig Tim Horton's, but damn, Bess Eaton was a pretty unique chain. A Bible verse on every doughnut? What was that all about? I put pictures of our trip to Tim Horton's on route 2 in Warwick up on Flickr. Nora's folks love it when she brings a dozen doughnuts from the exotic wilds of Rhode Island back to Quincy on Sundays, and who could blame them? Everyone loves a good sour cream doughnut from time to time.

Incidentally, I don't know if anyone else calls Tim Horton's "the Canadian embassy", but it just fits. I hope this doesn't mean there will be a string of hippies piling into them trying to seek asylum.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Quack arrested in Exeter

duck #1453
Originally uploaded by krissie p.

The Providence Journal (registration required) details the arrest of John E. Curran at his home in Exeter. Curran is charged with selling snake oil to genuinely sick people, and practicing medicine without a license.

I await a spirited rebuttal from alternative medicine advocates.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Happy Birthday, Dear Bristol ...

Blithewolde mansion
Photo by ladysalana.

Bristol celebrates its 325th anniversary of existence this Sunday. Although Bristol started out as a part of Massachusetts, it's almost impossible to imagine Rhode Island without it now. Could you imagine Rhode Island whout Colt state park? Or the Mt. Hope bridge? What about Roger Williams University? And last, but by no means least, the nations's oldest Fourth of July celebration? It's unthinkable! Bristol is one of the finest towns in all of southern New England. Happy birthday, Bristol!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Alert the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence!

bereta 9mm
Photo by carbalzac.

A 16 year old girl was shot in the right buttock in Wanskuck last night. Apparently, there has been a communal failure to properly study, much less practice, nonviolence, and we, the community, demand answers!

Actually we don't, but it would be nice to see the police arrest the culprit.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Independent Man

The Indepedent Man (at the Warwick Mall)
Taken by NetParrot.

Oh sure, the original on top of the state house is awe inspiring, but let's give some love to the replica ruling over the food court at the Warwick Mall, shall we? Clearly, no one shall every challenge the sovereignity or dignity of this food court's Burger King or Panda Express, which is how Roger Williams would want it.

"Bad luck and a flying ember"

The Providence Journal reports that the North Scituate fire station (pictured above) caught on fire while firefighters tackled a brush fire. A brush fire, they set themselves. Ouch. Obviously, some very bad luck indeed. It's gratifying to hear there were no inuries, and that the station is still habitable.

High school riot revisited.

Police headquarters (Providence, RI)
By NetParrot.

The brawling at Kennedy Plaza has continued, and the police have dutifully arrested eight students (five from Mount Pleasant, and three from Central) and charged them with criminal trespassing. As I spectulated earlier, the origins of the fracas, which turned into two afternoons of rioting, was sparked by geography: the East side dissing the South side. A classic! The Providence Journal (registration required) has more.

In a very Rhode Islandesque twist, Providence police on scene to keep the peace on Friday were joined by "Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence". We'll see how this works out, to be sure. Their website claims to have "reduced arrests in the Kennedy Plaza bus interchange by 95%", but oddly, makes no claim to have helped reduce crime in Kennedy Plaza by any corresponding amount (the ProJo police log, infrequently run as it is, suggests that no corresponding drop in crime accompanies this reduction in arrests).

They also claim to have:

I cannot see how anyone could make, much less accept, the first claim with a straight face. How could the Institute possibly quantify the number of acts of retaliatory violence prevented by their saintly presence? Is this information offered by potential criminals themselves ("I was about to shoot that motherfucker, but then the The Institute for the Study and Practice of Non-Violence showed me the way to peace!")? How did they quantify the first claim? Exit interviews? Anonymous tips? There's no way to determine their impact on preventing "retaliatory violence" in raw numbers or as a percentage of retaliatory violence in the city. And to be sure, there have been some recent high profile revenge killings in the city of late. Similarly, when revenge killings occur, are we to hold the Institute culpable for failures? Taking responsibility for "success" would also infer culpability for "failure", but realistically, they can take neither credit nor blame for something beyond their direct control.

The second claim is more straightforward, yet is not as impressive as it perhaps sounds. Providence does not have the generic community tensions that, for example, Crown Heights has. Recently, there were fears of tensions simmering between the city's (relatively small) Cambodian and black communities after a recent murder, but these fears appeared to be more smoke than fire. What impact the institute has had on reducing or eliminating these nascent tensions is unknown.

And lastly, not to sound like a Republican (which I am), but how much are they costing us? They mention a $99,200 grant from the Department of Health and Human services secured by our RINO Senator Lincoln Chaffee, but they do not mention what the state of Rhode Island or the city of Providence have donated. Fine words and work, to be sure, but is it worth the money?

Friday, September 09, 2005

I hope "the children" aren't really "the future".

Kennedy Plaza
Originally uploaded by dpriddy.

The Providence Journal (registration required) reports that a massive brawl erupted in downtown Providence on Thursday, when a startingly large number of high school students clashed in Kennedy Plaza. A mob of what police estimated to be as many as 300 high school students, some armed with rocks and bottles, were making their way up to College Hill before being dispersed by the police. 8 of the students were arrested, and the rest apparently scattered after the police arrived. What the hell could possibly have sparked this riot? Geographic rivalry? Insane. I'm amazed that the state police didn't show up en masse in riot gear to quell this disturbance, especially since Kennedy Plaza is in the heart of the business district.

Hope high school is, hands down, the worst high school in the state, and it is currently administered by a triumvirate instead of a single principal. I suppose someone thought it would be an even better idea to get two more people involved instead of finding one extremely competent administrator. That's just how city governments in Rhode Island work. Doubtlessly, there will be a million police downtown tomorrow when school gets out. It's also a safe bet to predict that, in an effort to avoid antagonizing "community leaders", the Providence police department will let this violent fracas slide and opt for "further dialogue" with Hope students and whatever authority figures around that are passing for their parents instead of sending the little thugs through the judicial system. Call me a cynic, but that's the approach we seem to always take here in the bluest city in the bluest little state in the union.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Providence police have busted "the good looking bandit" (registration required). This guy was responsible for a crime spree on the East Side, often robbing store owners of relatively miniscule amounts of money. In what is becoming de rigeur during Chief Dean Esserman's tenure, there was a medium-high profile press conference to show the public that the police are doing their jobs. The Providence Journal is attentive to the dog and pony shows, which is no surprise since they've been generally supportive of city government during Mayor Cicilline's administration.

The Providence police do not put on such high profile media events when they bust everyday crack dealers, car theives, burglars, or muggers, and if they did, I'm not sure the Providence Journal would attend the press conferences. They've even stopped publishing their (once highly detailed) police reports, preferring now to publish it on a very irregular basis. Frankly, the crime in Federal Hill, Olneyville, Valley, Wankskuck and Manton, much of it violent, hurts the city moree than a middle aged robber targeting chic businesses on the East Side, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.

What becomes of the dear departed?

Abandoned! (Providence, RI)

A photo of the former Engle Tire and Providence Auto Ignition Service on the corner of Broadway and the service road parallel to route 95.

There is a fair amount of pressure to convert this property into a Dunkin' Donuts, while others want an upscale supermarket for urban hipsters (think Trader Joe's ), while others hope a pharmacy will fill the void. Since DePasquale's pharmacy on Broadway went out of business, this is a suggestion that actually might make sense, but only time will tell. Art In Ruins has more on this newly abandoned property on the fringe of Federal Hill. The future development of this property will almost certainly be a harbinger of the future of Federal Hill.

I only hope it's not another hip little cafe: Broadway's got a few too many of those already.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Rhode Island Red

Little Compton is a beautiful town, one of the last old fashioned New England towns in the state. This tiny town is, however, justifiably famous in Rhode Island for being the birthplace of the Rhode Island Red chicken in 1854. The Rhode Island Red is a champion egg layer, and is well known locally for its brown, delicious eggs. has a fine article on the Rhode Island Red, and a picture of the memorial in Little Compton (the village of Adamsville) devoted to our state bird, the biggest little chicken in America.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A day in the east bay

Fresh photos from Tiverton and Little Compton over on Flickr. Nora and I bought some sweet corn, took some pictures, and had a good time all around.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

And now, the official state drink.

So, you ask, if Del's frozen lemonade is the unoffical state drink, what is the official state drink? Why, that would be coffee milk.

People outside southeastern New England tend to be baffled by coffee milk, and dairy executives are baffled when they see that Rhode Island is the only state where coffee, not vanilla, is the top selling ice cream flavor. The state loves it, and after a contentious debate in the state legislature, coffee milk defeated Del's in the bruising fight to become the official state beverage. Cynics might say that the time and money spent arguing over something so trivial would be better spent addressing Rhode Island's seemingly innumerable problems, but good lord people, have you ever had coffee milk? It's delicious!

Autocrat of Lincoln has practically cornered the local market in coffee syrup. Fortunately, they make a fine coffee syrup indeed. As you can see, my bottle is sitting next to a carton of Rhody Fresh whole milk. Just keeping it all local ...

Federal Hill

This is a shot of Ring Street, just down the street from the old folks home. The rubble in the driveway has been there for a very long time. This is an immigrant neighborhood in a rapidly gentrifying area, caught between crack cocaine, graffiti and gunfire on one side, and trendy restaurants, million dollar condominiums and brownstones on the other. So which side exemplifies the soul of Federal Hill, or is it possible for both to coexist side by side? I believe the latter.

Ghetto fabulous

Old Farmer's Market, Providence RI
Originally uploaded by Splintervalometer.

A shot of the Providence Fruit and Produce Company Warehouse building on Harris Avenue, shot from underneath the highway. The property is currently owned by the state, and they have been entertaining bids for the property for a few years without takers.

Art In Ruins has a summary with nearly two dozen photos.

Welcome to Woonsocket

Lisa Griffis has a fine set of photos of Woonsocket over on Flickr. This photo is an artifact of the city's Quebecois heritage.

Fred Benson beach: Block Island

Last Saturday was probably the last time I'll visit Block Island this year. Or will it? I think a fall or winter visit would be relaxing. I grew up in a tourist town, and you get to know more about a place when there aren't throngs of visitors.

At any rate, it would behoove me to start a series of photos of other places in Rhode Island, starting with Providence. I suspect I'll start out with Federal Hill, and branch out from there.

The unofficial beverage of Rhode Island

Block Island 073
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.

Coffee milk is the state beverage of Rhode Island, winning the honor after months (or was it years?) of legislative debate. However, when it's a blazing hot August day at the beach, nothing refreshes quite like the unofficial state beverage of the Ocean State: Del's.

Why, just look how refreshed the exotic brunette in the photo is after digging into the citrusy goodness of a Del's

Block Island photos

Block Island 042
Originally uploaded by NetParrot.
The National Hotel was in an all-American mood, as evinced by the American flag flying end to end on the front porch. I put the rest up on Flickr.